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Independent State of Samoa

Malo Saʻoloto Tutoʻatasi o Sāmoa
Coat of arms of Samoa
Coat of arms
Motto: Fa'avae i le Atua Sāmoa
(English: Samoa is founded on God)
Anthem: The Banner of Freedom
Location of Samoa
Capital Apia
Largest city Apia
Official languages Samoan
English
Ethnic groups
(2001)
Samoan 92.6%
Euronesians (persons of European and Polynesian blood) 7%
Europeans 0.4%
Demonym(s) Samoan
Government Unitary parliamentary elective monarchy
• O le Ao o le Malo
(Head of State)
Va'aletoa Sualauvi II
Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi
Legislature Legislative Assembly
Independence
• from New Zealand
1 January 1962
Area
• Total
2,831 km2 (1,093 sq mi) (174th)
• Water (%)
0.3%
Population
• 2012 estimate
194,320 (166th)
• 2006 census
179,186
• Density
63.2/km2 (163.7/sq mi) (144th)
GDP (PPP) 2011 estimate
• Total
$1.090 billion
• Per capita
$5,965
GDP (nominal) 2011 estimate
• Total
$630 million
• Per capita
$3,451
HDI (2007) Increase 0.685
medium · 94th
Currency Tala (WST)
Time zone UTC+131
• Summer (DST)
UTC+14
Driving side left2
Calling code 685
ISO 3166 code WS
Internet TLD .ws
  1. Since 31 December 2011.
  2. Since 7 September 2009.

The Independent State of Samoa is a country in Pacific Ocean. It became independent from New Zealand in 1962. It has two islands, including Upolu and Savai'i. The capital of Samoa is Apia. It is on the island of Upolu. The head of the country is Va'aletoa Sualauvi II.

The languages spoken in Samoa include Samoan and English.

The sport that is most popular in Samoa is Rugby, and many Samoan people play Rugby.

Samoa was admitted to the United Nations on 18 September 1962.

A measles outbreak began in October 2019 and continued through December. As of December 28, there were 81 deaths out of 5667 cases.

Districts

Samoa has eleven political districts. These are called itūmālō. These are the traditional eleven districts that were made well before European arrival.

  1. Upolu
    (including minor islands)
  2. Tuamasaga (Afega)
  3. A'ana (Leulumoega)
  4. Aiga-i-le-Tai (Mulifanua)1
  5. Atua (Lufilufi)2
  6. Va'a-o-Fonoti (Samamea)
  1. Savai'i

  2. Fa'asaleleaga (Safotulafai)
  3. Gaga'emauga (Saleaula)3
  4. Gaga'ifomauga (Safotu)
  5. Vaisigano (Asau)
  6. Satupa'itea (Satupa'itea)
  7. Palauli (Vailoa)

1 including islands Manono, Apolima and Nu'ulopa
2 including the Aleipata Islands and Nu'usafe'e Island
3 smaller parts also on Upolu (Salamumu (incl. Salamumu-Utu) and Leauvaa villages)

Geography

Samoa waterfall scenery
Samoa waterfall scenery
Samoa Country map
A map of Samoa.
Samoa topography
Topography of Samoa.

Samoa lies south of the equator, about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand, in the Polynesian region of the Pacific Ocean. The total land area is 2,842 km2 (1,097 sq mi), consisting of the two large islands of Upolu and Savai'i (which together account for 99% of the total land area) and eight small islets.

The islets are:

  • the three islets in the Apolima Strait (Manono Island, Apolima and Nu'ulopa)
  • the four Aleipata Islands off the eastern end of Upolu (Nu'utele, Nu'ulua, Namua, and Fanuatapu)
  • Nu'usafe'e, which is less than 1 hectare (2½ acres) in area and lies about 1.4 km (0.9 mi) off the south coast of Upolu at the village of Vaovai

The main island of Upolu is home to nearly three-quarters of Samoa's population, and to the capital city, Apia.

The Samoan islands result geologically from volcanism, originating with the Samoa hotspot, which probably results from a mantle plume. While all of the islands have volcanic origins, only Savai'i, the westernmost island in Samoa, remains volcanically active, with the most recent eruptions at Mt Matavanu (1905–1911), Mata o le Afi (1902) and Mauga Afi (1725). The highest point in Samoa is Mt Silisili, at 1858 m (6,096 ft). The Saleaula lava fields situated on the central north coast of Savai'i result from the Mt Matavanu eruptions, which left 50 km2 (20 sq mi) of solidified lava.

Savai'i is the largest of the Samoan islands and the sixth-largest Polynesian island (after New Zealand's North, South and Stewart Islands and the Hawaiian islands of Hawaiʻi and Maui). The population of Savai'i is 42,000 people.

Climate

Samoa has an equatorial/monsoonal climate, with an average annual temperature of 26.5 °C (79.7 °F) and a rainy season from November to April.

Wildlife

Todiramphus recurvirostris by John Gerrard Keulemans
The flat-billed kingfisher (Todiramphus recurvirostris) is a species of bird in the family Alcedinidae. It is endemic to Samoa.

Samoa forms part of the Samoan tropical moist forests ecoregion. Since human habitation began, about 80% of the lowland rainforests have disappeared. Within the ecoregion about 28% of plants and 84% of land birds are endemic.

There are nine mammal species in Samoa, of which one is endangered and two are vulnerable.

Samoa has Flying Foxes, Reef fish, Sea turtles and even Goldfish in Lake Lanoto’o, Samoa’s largest lake!

Samoa has many whales, dolphins and porpoises in it's waters. They are the mammals most fully adapted to aquatic life with a spindle-shaped nearly hairless body, protected by a thick layer of blubber, and forelimbs and tail modified to provide propulsion underwater.

The birds of Samoa include a total of 82 species, of which ten are endemic, five have been introduced by humans and 23 are rare or accidental. Seven species are globally threatened.

Demographics

Samoa Familie
A Samoan family
Siva Afi - Fire spinning
A Samoan fire dancer.

Samoa has 194,320 people. 92.6% are Samoans, 7% Euronesians (people of mixed, European and Polynesian ancestors) and 0.4% are Europeans.

Religion in Samoa includes the following: Christian Congregational Church of Samoa 35.5%, Roman Catholic 19.6%, Methodist 15%, Latter-day Saints 12.7%, Samoan Assemblies of God 10.6%, Seventh-day Adventist 3.5%, Worship Centre 1.3%, unspecified 0.8%.There is also about 522 Jehovah's Witnessses in Samoa since 1931. Samoa has one of seven Bahá'í Houses of Worship in the world. It is in Tiapapata.

Many people say that Samoan people are related to Māori people because lots of the language words are very similar to Maori language.

As with other Polynesian cultures (Hawai'ian, Tahitian and Māori), Samoans have two gender specific and culturally important tattoos. For males, it is called the Pe'a, It is intricate and geometrical patterns tattooed on areas from the knees up towards the ribs. A male who has such a tatau is called a soga'imiti. A Samoan girl or teine is given a malu. It covers the area from just below her knees to her upper thighs.

Economy

Colocasia esculenta dsc07801
Taro, a root crop, traditionally was Samoa's largest export, generating more than half of all export revenue in 1993. A fungal blight decimated the plants, and in each year since 1994 taro exports have accounted for less than 1% of export revenue.

The United Nations has classified Samoa as an economically developing country since 2014.

The country's currency is the Samoan tālā, issued and regulated by the Central Bank of Samoa.

The economy of Samoa has traditionally been dependent on agriculture and fishing at the local level. Samoan exports feature coconut cream, coconut oil, noni (juice of the nonu fruit, as it is known in Samoan), and copra.

Outside of a large automotive wire harness factory (Yazaki Corporation which ended production in August 2017), the manufacturing sector mainly processes agricultural products.

Tourist arrivals have been increasing over the years with more than 100,000 tourists visiting the islands in 2005, up from 70,000 in 1996.

In the period before German colonisation, Samoa produced mostly copra. German merchants and settlers were active in introducing large scale plantation operations and developing new industries, notably, cocoa bean and rubber, relying on imported labourers from China and Melanesia. When the value of natural rubber fell drastically, about the end of the Great War (World War I), the New Zealand government encouraged the production of bananas, for which there is a large market in New Zealand.

The staple products of Samoa are copra (dried coconut meat), cocoa bean (for chocolate), and bananas. Samoan cocoa beans are of very high quality and used in fine New Zealand chocolates.

Other agricultural industries have been less successful. Sugarcane production, originally established by Germans in the early 20th century, could be successful. Old train tracks for transporting cane can be seen at some plantations east of Apia. Pineapples grow well in Samoa, but beyond local consumption have not been a major export.

Sixty percent of Samoa's electricity comes from renewable hydro, solar, and wind sources, with the remainder from diesel generators. The Electric Power Corporation has a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2021.

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